The Grace Space: How to Keep your Female Audiences—Hollywood, Pay Attention

Over the last few months, I have rather disgruntled with the entertainment industry and its depictions of women. Ranging from the fake feminist films “The Other Woman” and “Walk of Shame” to the largely criticized rape of Cersei by her brother Jaime Lannister to a recent advertisement from the 1 is 2 Many campaign, I am tired. I am tired of seeing women placed in positions that are not beneficial for our view of the gender, I am tired of directors and writers believing that women should be placed in this mold of one who succumbs to that which surrounds her, I am tired of women being defined only by their relations to men.
Because you know what? We are more than our relations to men, we are more than the mold that society has formed for us, and we should not accept these examples as representative of our gender. Women are strong, women are fierce, and women are a large part of your consumer base, Hollywood—why the f*** do you think producing a movie about slut shaming or focusing on one type of beauty is helpful for anyone?

Hence, I have complied a list below of some factors I think would be beneficial for those in the entertainment industry to follow in order to maintain their female audience. Let’s tell stories that are pertinent to all women, and that accurately reflect women, rather than focus on revenue.

1. Stop defining what beauty is
Why are we told that we need to be a size 0 or a size 2, with tan skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes, to be considered beautiful? It doesn’t help that all three of the main women in “The Other Woman” fit this mold for the most part. These are entirely unrealistic standards for the other 99 percent of women around the world. I love seeing Mindy Kaling or Melissa McCarthy in films because they look real. Why can’t we celebrate realness, real body types, and real beauty without focusing entirely on how these women should lose weight or are solely in the films in which they star for comedic purposes? Plus, let’s start to show some cellulite—based on the fact that cellulite is more common than breasts for women, being present in 98 percent of the global female population. We can’t continue to provide false notions of beauty to the next generation or ourselves.

2. Include more ethnicities of women
In the last few movies I’ve seen in theaters— “Authors Anonymous,” “The Other Woman,” and “Fed Up,” I believe there were a grand total of five women of color across all three features. I complained about this fact extensively in my Critic’s Corners for the first two films, but I can’t help to be more pissed than anything else. Hollywood, you are literally in the heart of Los Angeles, a city with large percentages of Hispanic and Latino, African American, and Asian populations. Why the hell do you think you should only include Caucasian actresses in parts that could go across ethnicities? And yes, even though you may include a snippet of Nicki Minaj, I would like non-white actresses who are actually given leading roles, roles that aren’t focused solely on their looks.

3. Make more movies/television shows that focus on how kick-ass women truly are
Olivia Benson on NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU” will always be one of my heroes. You want to know why? Because she’s a woman who doesn’t let men get in her way, and climbs in her profession based on talent and determination rather than her gender. I can’t even think of another female character to look up to from the past year in films—the latest I can go back to find one is Hit-Girl in 2010’s “Kick-Ass.” Seriously, the fact that I can’t even think of one female character to look up to for their badass-ness from the preceding four years is troubling. So why aren’t we questioning that fact? Sure, Katniss Everdeen and Beatrice Prior are meant to evoke that feeling of being bad-ass, but both are more quickly thrown into romantic relationships rather than actually exuding characteristics I want to admire. Get it together Hollywood—women are not and should not solely be defined by their love interests or relationships.

4. Stop attempting to show the “humor” in slut shaming, womanizing and rape
You know what’s not funny, and shouldn’t be used as ploys for revenue? Slut shaming, womanizing and rape. You are setting triggers for a large percentage of your female viewers, but are focusing entirely on making these factors funny for your audience. No no no. Don’t be idiots. Defining women as sluts to begin with is ridiculous when we transition to the concept of a woman needing to forgive her man for being a womanizer. And rape? Never good. Unless I see the women fight back against these abuses and win with every might of their being, I don’t care to see your garbage heap. Again, let’s make the women badass as they fight against injustice, rather than laugh at their misfortunes.

5. Start passing the Bechdel test, for f**** sake
For those who don’t know, the Bechdel test has three requirements: (1) the film has to have at least two named women in it, (2) who talk to one another for at least two minutes, (3) about something besides a man. Doesn’t sound that difficult, right? You’d be surprised by how largely Hollywood has screwed the pooch on this one. The Huffington Post recently published an article stating that, due to the fact that most moviegoers are female (about 52 percent), movies that pass the Bechdel Test actually make more money. I mean, think of all of the hit films that pass the Bechdel Test, including “Toy Story 3,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Halloween,” and “Amelie.” Yet, a lot of the films that pass the test (including some of these ones) still do not give much focus to the female characters, leading to even further irritation and head-scratching on my part.

All in all Hollywood, y’all need to step it up. Women are awesome—hell, they’re the reason you’re here today. Let’s start celebrating how awesome women truly are in our entertainment industry so there can still be an entertainment industry. Good luck.

Grace Stetson

Currently in her third year at The Spectator, Grace Stetson is a junior at Seattle University majoring in English and Film Studies and minoring in Spanish. She hopes to use her experience from the paper in the journalism world after college, preferably with a Master's from Medill School of Journalism. Aside from all this writing business, Grace enjoys traveling, chai tea and adorable puppies.


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